But it is quite a different thing to understand math. A lot of times people can work out a multiplication problem but they have no idea how to apply it to real world situations.
For instance I asked a group of struggling learners if I had 10 slices of pizza and I paid $5 per slice. How much per slice did I pay?
Out of a room of about twenty students no one knew exactly how to figure that out. They had all kinds of ideas of what to do but none of them knew exactly what to do.
However, when I put on the board 5/10 they knew how to work the problem. But processing the operation needed was killing them. I even had one student ask, what does per mean?
This was a group of 6th graders!
So sometimes we need to ensure that students know and understand operations needed in math problems. That was a real world problem but no one knew how to get the information.
In the classroom we need to make sure our students are comprehending what is being asked and how to get the information needed.
The other interesting thing about this is that they were confused on vocabulary. Introducing academic vocabulary early will only help them.